Turkish, Greek diplomats to meet soon to discuss bilateral ties, Aegean issues

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Senior diplomats from Turkey and Greece will hold a two-day meeting this week to discuss the course of bilateral relationships as well as the problems that stem from the Aegean Sea during the 62nd round of consultative talks.

Formerly known as “exploratory talks,” the consultative talks will take place on March 16 in Athens under the leadership of Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal and retired Greek Ambassador Pavlos Apostolidis in Athens.

It will be their second meeting since the talks resumed in late January after a five-year hiatus. Launched in the early 2000s, the talks aim to explore the ways to resolve the problems of continental shelf, territorial waters, airspace disputes and other issues at the Aegean Sea.

On Wednesday, the two sides will carry out the political consultations as well. While Sedat Önal will lead the Turkish team, the Greek side will be represented by the secretary-general of the Greek Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Themistoklis Demiris. The last time the two sides held the political consultations was in January 2020.

Ties between Turkey and Greece were severely strained in recent years because of the overlapping continental shelf claims in the Mediterranean, the growing refugee problems as well as Greece’s decision to grant asylum to the FETÖ members who fled from Turkey after a failed coup attempt in mid-2016.

The political consultations came after Turkey slammed Greece for allowing the FETÖ propaganda and becoming a haven for fugitive terrorists.

“It is observed that Greece has become a safe haven for FETÖ members. FETÖ members are able to travel across Greece freely, and so-called FETÖ affiliated NGOs carry out charity activities for fugitive FETÖ members in Greece. Alongside FETÖ, PKK/PYD/YPG and DHKP-C terrorist organizations as well continue their activities in Greece,” according to a statement issued by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hami Aksoy last week.

“We call on Greece to meet our requests of extradition and freezing of assets of FETÖ members; to prevent propaganda, financing and recruitment activities of FETÖ; and to terminate activities of terrorist organizations in the country.”

Hurriyet Daily News

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